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WARNING: Mature content possible. Proceed with caution.
On his face is a map of the world
Posted: Posted March 11th
Edited March 11th by S.O.H.
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Hello friends. Its time for an update.

A bit of a disclosure I will have to edit some stuff in over the next few days.

I've been In country almost 6 months now. It's been a wild ride that admittedly has gone by in a blink of an eye. It's true what they say "the days are long but the weeks fly by" i will break up this post into different parts.

The Peace Corps

The peace corps its self has been a mixed bag for me. The guatemalan and staff who have been volunteers have been great. The number of rules we have to follow is completely absurd at this point. So much so that other volunteers can't travel to Guatemala.

On that note I have met some pretty nice people in the peace corps. But a large chunk has left me extremely jaded. The rampant immaturity political correctness and wokeness of volunteers pushes me not to interact with them. More so because the latter of things is only used when it's convenient for this woke college liberals.


I find one thing funny though. The 1st goal of the peace corps is:

To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.

the majority of the people we send to meet this goal have no to very little professional experience. For many this is their first salary job.

as a registered Republican I believe in the Peace Corps mission and think we should triple the agencies budget. But we need to raise the bar on qualifications.

Guatemala

Guatemala has been great to me. Ive lost a ton of weight, I'm excersing , eating better and meeting incredible people. Guatemala is a beautiful country, with hard working caring people. It has a laundry list of issues that they are doing their best to address and I am here to support them in whatever way I can.

Site and Integration

I started working and have my own classes. I also work for two local government agencies. One in my site and two in another site I cover.

As a Youth Coordinator (volunteer really) my job is to coordinate and work with all the groups that serve the youth. The bulk of my job is doing this and doing workshops.

When it comes to the local agencies work isn't always a thing. It really depends on wether or not they need me for the week. Its been hit or miss ive been able to work as a translator during a health rally coordinated by our local womens office. But other than that I haven't rwally done much than attend meetings. And take a lot of pictures.

This is expected, the only steady work that interest people is me teaching English and while that can be my secondary goal (and it is) it has been challenging because that is the only thing people want. I barely have a grasp of the English language my self and studied History in college. While I love being in the classroom, English really isnt my forte. But I gotta give the people what they want.

Truth be told it melts my frigid heart when a young child lights up because they learned a new word.

I'm teaching English in my towns cultural center where we teach a total of 20 or so kids. They are all in different levels so I am helping teach the advance group. The two teachers are university students who are barely learning the language themselves.

I am also planning on teaching several groups of kids through out the week along with teaching the transportation drivers in my site. (My site is a huge tourist destination)

My other source of work is my school. I teach Tuesday through Friday. Admittedly I am stuck helping in English classes Thursday and Friday but I am giving my own classes for my project frame work Tuesday-Thursday during certain periods.

I enjoy working with youth and have enjoyed teaching. Its an interesting dynamic for me as I have been doing it all in Spanish. Truth be told my older classes are a little bit easier. But it is a nightmare to try and manage my first years.

I work in a Basico. Here in Guatemala it is a mixture of middle school and high school. My youngest students are 10 to 11 years old while my oldest are 18-19 years old.

My students are all indigenous as are my colleagues. Truth be told my students here are no different than my students back home. The only real difference is that they are far kinder and have a little bit more respect for their teachers. (Working in a small school and town helps) they are also teens. They have social media, goof off, crack jokes and gossip.

Gender roles are very much a thing but so is female empowerment. My female students wear their indigenous dress which is honestly beautiful with vibrant colors and designs.

Working in Guatemala

It's crazy. Work culture is both similar and different than the states. Some times we open a meeting with a blessing. Other times we end a meeting with a bible passage. Sometimes a meeting will start on time. But mlre often than not it will start half and hour later.

Snack time is huge in this country. And your coworkers can end up being your family based on the culture. Also everything here is stress free. Its a surprise to be sure but a welcomed one.

My co-workers are all pretty dope.


friends and family

Other than some volunteers who I enjoy hanging out with I don't have many friends. People just know me as the "Profe" ( professor) or as that guy who is always riding a pick up/ tuk- tuk. People do know me though and you greet every one with a "good morning, good afternoon, or good evening"

I do need friends though. Specifically female guatemalan friends who I can crack jokes with. Cracking jokes with my tuk tuk driver will suffice.

I am slowly integrating with my host family. Its a slow process for me but I have enjoyed sharing time with them. I will hopefully be learning to weave in the coming weeks under the guidance of one of my host sisters.

I am hoping to have a strong relationship with them as we continue to move forward.

hobbies

Does surviving count?

Im gonna level with yall I packed a hard drive full of movies, shows and anime and I havent watched anything since January. (I think)

I am trying to learn guitar in my free time.

I broke a G-String while fingering a minor.

So now I am playing with 5 strings instead of 6.

I am also slowly reading through the dark tower series along with jogging. I am trying to explore the other towns on the lake... its a very slow process.

Moving forward I want to pour more time into running and working out. I also want to start mountain biking and kaykaking. But the rainy season is slowly approaching us here so we will see how that goes.

Love and Romance



Just kidding.



no seriously



There are some very beautiful women here and some have sparked my interest. But at the moment I am focusing on myself and integration. But I will make an effort on this part of my life. Guatemala has been good to me. And I know deep down that if I were to court/date/ a guatemalan women she will also be very good to me/ for me. (Dont ask me how I know, just a feeling I have.)

The future

I am planning to go back to the states in June. Thats going to be a nightmare to navigate. (an expensive one at that) But it will be an interesting break. While it will be great to see friends and family.... I think it will solidify my choice on wanting to stay here an extra year.... if not for another couple of years.

other

When I start my master's.... I want to write my thesis on Femicide and womens rights in central america. In addition to this I want to do more for female empowerment here in Guatemala.

I have also been navigating my own identity. It is true what they say, you become a different version of your self when you speak a different language. This has been interesting for me to navigate as a Mexican-American.

Spanish was my first language but it was not my preferred/ strongest language. Ive gained a better mastery of Spanish over the last 6 months that Ive been here but it is a challenge to speak it as my Mexican Spanish/ Mexican Culture/ Attitude/ Accent? comes out. Mexicans are a lot more direct and we are extremely loud and abrasive. (no ill intentions I sure you) I am far more confident speaking in spanish now and its been fun navigating both conversational spanish and professional spanish.

Now that I have been here for 6 months I am interested in learning more about my mexican background. Its going to be a long overdue conversation with my parents regarding my family history.

final thoughts.

I am happy. Some days are long and draining but I am happy. I am no longer stressed as I was in the states. Nor do I feel the sense of dread that I once felt in the States in regards to my own future. Being here has given my life meaning....actually doing what I love has brought my life meaning.

that is not to say I dont get lonely or feel alone. Some times I get hit with the realization that I am 3000 miles away from everyone I know and love. Its a hard feeling to process. I feel it will be easier to process as I continue to integrate further.

Any who here are some pics of me:








There are 4 Replies

What you've been up to is rather heart warming and inspiring. Hope things continue to go well for you.
Not gonna lie, I had to do double take on the g string sentence. =X

Posted March 11th by Dark Knowings
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I’ve really liked your posts about the Peace Corps and Guatemala.


Posted March 15th by chiarizio
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Wow! Sounds like an awesome experience, and you're really making a difference in those kids' lives! Hopefully you can make more friends before you return. Enjoy it while you can!

Around the world, English is seen as a gateway to success. But you don't need to research Shakespeare to be conversational in English. Children's books are great. But for some of your higher-end students, I suggest pointing them to these concepts:

  • Rhetoric - Language serves a purpose, so it should be tailored to that purpose.
  • Clauses and Linking - The phrase "Because she did this, that happened" has two clauses, and they're very clear. But a lot of English's more complex phrasing comes from longer or more clauses, so linking those clauses together becomes more difficult. But as long as you know how clauses and linking work, the complex stuff will be easy.
  • Sound and Flow - I hate it when schools focus so much on complexity they completely forget the entire point of English is to communicate clearly. Succinctly. People in the real world don't hold Shakespeare to the same regard as professors. Once you've achieved clarity, good flow makes it smooth and easier to digest. Speech with flow sounds confident, stress-free, and eliminates the language barrier. Poetry and music can be a great way to show and teach this.

    If your students can understand those three things and apply them to English, they will excel.

  • Posted March 18th by mariomguy
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    This feels like a life time ago. We are now being evacuated because of COVID19. I left my site yesterday with 2 hours notice. I was able to say goodbye to some of my family and friends. Waves of sadness and frustration hit me every few hours. I cried more yesterday than I have in the last decade.



    Posted March 18th by S.o.h.
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    S.o.h.
     
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